Wednesday, 9 October 2013


I bought my first Warhol when I was 12 or 13 back in early '70s.  It was a picture of a banana and came with a free vinyl album of songs by the Velvet Underground although this wasn't mentioned on the visible artefact.  I don't remember the cost but it was probably around £2.99 and constituted several weeks accummulated pocket money. 

You may say "but that was just a record cover, Andy Warhol didn't personally paint each one".  However I have read a lot about Warhol and I know that he didn't personally paint a lot of things that went out under his name.  There is a statement that the  music by the Velvet Underground was "Produced by Andy Warhol" but I heard Lou Reed say that he didn't produce that either. 

One of the difficulties when it comes to understanding art is understanding the relationship between an idea, a concept, the execution of that concept and the reproduction of that execution.  As an example, take Warhol's Campbell's soup cans.  Although Pop Art, Consumer Art, Commonism, is taken for granted now, after fifty years of advertising, record sleeves, MTV, etc back in 1962 the idea of a large painting of a soup can was radical. 
Warhol's execution of the idea was not technically excellent.  A better painter (or silk screen artist) could have produced a more accurate representation (but Andy liked it rough) so really the radicalness, the shock was the fact that an artist had painted something as common, as ordinary, as a soup can.  But it wasn't Warhol's idea.  That came from Muriel Latow.  So, not his idea.  Andy had his Factory workers helping to produce the physical work, executing the concept.  So, not his own work.  Turning thirty two individual pictures of soup cans into a single piece called 32 Campbell's Soup Cans was an act of Irving Blum.  So, not his original concept.

But Andy Warhol had the style it takes.  If he had a Brillo box and said it was art, then, it was Art.  Originality wasn't the be all and end all.  But don't get me started on Richard Prince and the Marlboro Man.

The picture above titled "Warhol" is a photograph of some spilt oil on a roadway which accidentally/serendipitously looked a little like a Warhol wig.  Accidental art.

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